A/N: Thank you for your reviews, I'm really surprised how much of you decided to write me a comment. I'm going to do my best.
Okay, here we go, enjoy:
The Meaning of Us
"So... what do you want to tell me?"
"Um... I- I love you!"
"I know, I love you too."
"I mean- in that way. Like, you know... I'd like you to be my girlfriend."
"Wait, but... you don't mean- but we're both girls-"
"I know! I just... wanted you to... know what I feel..."
"I... appreciate it but... I'm sorry, I cant return your feelings-"
Nanoha turned off the TV, her eyebrow twitching lightly. "Why can't those things just go well at least in movies...?" She groaned. She was bored. So terribly bored. She managed to finish all her university projects in one afternoon, just because Fate had had to stay late on her lecture. It didn't really matter to her that all the work had been given to her only a day before. The most important thing was that she still had almost half an hour 'till her sister's return.
She got up from a small sofa in Fate's room, sat on her bed, opposite the window, and watched the setting sun. The scenery was simple yet beautiful; orange and slightly reddish rays lightened the sky, as if setting the horizon on fire.
All of it reminded Nanoha of the blonde's beautiful eyes. She got up again and left her sister's room this time. She went through the living room, where her mothers were usually spending their evenings, remembering that this day they went to pay a visit to their friend Lindy. Her step-brother and step-sister, Kyouya and Miyuki, were also out and weren't going to come back until the midnight. She was all alone in her family residence and Takamachi Nanoha wasn't used to being alone at all.
With a hint of resignation she changed her boots and went outside of their large house. She locked the front door and slowly headed towards the University of Uminari. All things considered, it was the best way to meet with Fate a little sooner. She walked slowly, lazily looking around. Most of people living in her neighbourhood were outside, mowing their lawns or just resting in front of their houses.
"Good evening, Nanoha-chan!" she heard an old woman's voice from her left side. "Hey, how are you today, Nanoha-san?" this time a young man from her right. She put a smile on her face again, politely answering her neighbours. Her family was the one people respected, no matter how odd could things look for strangers. Her biological mother, Takamachi Precia, was a scientist, currently working at the city's university of technology. Her step-mother, Takamachi Momoko, owned a bakery along with her ex-husband, now really close friend, Shiro.
Suddenly, she heard a familiar voice calling her name. "Ah, Nanoha-san, not with your sister? How rare." This voice, it could be only...
"Signum-san, good evening to you," The younger female answered happily, turning around. "Going back from work?" She asked, glad that she had finally met someone closer to her to chat with.
"Yes, I thought about taking a walk instead of a bus." Signum said with her usual, serious tone. "What about you? Have you had a fight with Testarossa?" The older one asked in a playfully teasing manner, making Nanoha burst out with laughter.
"A fight? No way, she had to stay late on her lecture." She explained. "I'm going to meet her in a half-way."
"How sweet." Signum teased lightly. "I swear, if I didn't know you, I'd think that you are a couple."
"Signum-san, please, don't joke like this." Nanoha tried to sound as natural as she could, despite the sudden loss of cheerfulness in her voice.
"Ah, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you." The woman said immediately, sensing the change in her friend's mood.
"I- It's okay." The brunette answered, taken aback a little by her companion's formality.
Seeing it, Signum tried to change the topic for a more neutral one. "So, how are your studies going?" She asked with curiosity.
"It's really fun, you know?" Nanoha mentally thanked the pink-haired woman for not asking about her earlier behaviour. "I met so much new people, even some of my old friends attend the same university as me." And of course Fate too...
"I'm glad to hear it. Hayate was also very pleased to have some of the old company." Signum responded and went further with the topic. "Do you have any plans for your future career?"
Nanoha mused over the question. "Hmm, not really." She answered honestly after a short while. "I guess I'm going to graduate for now."
"I understand, good luck then. If you want to clear your mind before making the choice, feel free to come to my dojo."
"Ah, thank you but lately I'm not in a mood for fighting." The brunette politely rejected the offer.
"As you wish, that way or another, my knowledge is still at your service." Signum said proudly, making Nanoha smile again from this little gesture.
They chatted like this for a few minutes, enjoying each other's company. "Well, that's where we split up." The pink-haired one said after reaching a small crossroad. "Take care and give my best regards to Testarossa."
"Thank you, Signum-san, you too take care of yourself." Nanoha smiled and waved her hand lightly, going in the opposite direction.
It was getting darker, street lights got turned on and the air became a little cooler. Nanoha crossed her arms, immediately regretting not taking her coat. She considered running back to the house to take it and even turned around when suddenly a pair of hands pulled her into a warm hug. Familiar scent hit her nose as gentle and melodic voice filled her ears.
"Good evening Nanoha, I didn't expect to see you here"
"Fate-chan!" She squealed. "I'm sorry, I- I didn't see you." She turned around to face her sister and returned the hug.
"Where are you going clothed so lightly?" Fate asked, not even bothering to hide her amusement.
"I was bored with staying alone in the house so I went to pick you up from the University." Nanoha answered and shivered a little when cool wind blew lightly on her back.
"Hey, you will catch a cold if you walk dressed like that in the evening." Fate said with concern. "Days are warm but nights still can be cold."
"Ah, I'm so- Eeeh? Fate-chan, what are you doing?" She asked, surprised, when the blonde started undoing buttons of her coat.
"Here." Fate handed the clothing to Nanoha. "I can't let my sister freeze." She added with a smile.
"But what about you?" Nanoha countered, still hesitating.
"I'm fine, to be honest, I was starting to feel a little hot from all this walking." Fate shoot down Nanoha's indecision easily and watched her as she was putting on the coat in silence.
"Mou, Fate-chan," The brunette groaned playfully. "If you catch a cold, you'll be at my mercy."
"I'd be more than glad to leave myself in your care." Fate teased, watching her sister's face getting a little red.
"Just be careful what you wish for, Fate-chan." Nanoha didn't give up. "I can be really... strict when it comes to nursing." She giggled along with the other. "Hey, Fate-chan," she started with the more serious tone as she took her sister's hand.
"Yes?" Curiosity apparent.
'Just what was that? What was I going to tell her?' Nanoha scolded herself mentally. "Um, it's nothing."
"If you say so." Fate replied with a hint of disappointment. "How was your day?" She changed the topic.
"Aww, it was so boring that I finished all of my projects this afternoon. And yours?"
"Tiring, I was at the university for the whole day." She said and turned her head towards the brunette. "By the way, I hope you didn't overworked yourself again? I know your strange habits of working without taking breaks." She said in a half serious way.
"Ahaha," 'Busted,' Nanoha laughed nervously and continued. "It was a very pleasant and light work. Besides, I have the rest of the day off."
"That's good, I wanted to spend this evening with you." Fate answered with a light smile on her face again.
"Hm? And what do you want to do?" This time Nanoha was curious.
"That was a straightforward one." She replied laughing. Looking at the road before her, Nanoha realised that being with Fate meant something more than just talking or laughing together. The blonde had a strange ability to ease Nanoha's mind, cleansing all stress that the brunette was going through. Something which Nanoha didn't want to loose. Maybe staying like this wouldn't be that bad? At least for now. She gripped her sister's hand a little harder as their house came into her view.
Their mothers had come home before the two students came back. As always, they welcomed them with open arms and two cups of hot, green tea. Both Nanoha and Fate were really thankful to have such a loving family. Momoko's appearance in their lives was the best thing that happened to them since their father's death eleven years ago.
At first it was hard. Living only with their mother for almost five years, then dealing with her new relationship with Momoko. People say that beginnings are always difficult and this time it wasn't different. But both of their mothers were so understanding, always going out of their way for their children. And their new siblings, Kyouya and Miyuki, turned out to be really nice people.
But the person who helped their family the most was no one else but their father's sister, Lindy. Precia's and Momoko's dear friend. The two of them met thanks to her. They fell in love with each other and overcame their problems because she was there with them. And because of it they were able to create this happy family.
"So, how are things with aunt Lindy?" Nanoha, as ever, was the one who started conversation. "It's been a few months since I last talked with her, I think I'll pay her a visit after my exams."
"She's fine as always, but her son, Chrono, is an impressive one, he got himself a really cute girlfriend." Momoko chirped, inviting the other brunette to sit next to her.
"Really?" Nanoha asked curiously. "Let me guess... is it Amy-san?"
"Yes, it's her, that childhood friend of him." Her mother confirmed. "Oh, and I talked with Arf for a while, she's still such a nice girl."
Fate sat down on the couch, picked up a rather large, grey cat and put it on her lap. "Come on Linith, I haven't seen you all day." She whispered and started to pet the cat. Then she looked at her sister and her step-mother chatting together lively. And she couldn't help but notice how happy and lively Nanoha was which, to be honest, made the blonde's heart flutter.
"They paired together quite nicely, didn't they?" Precia's voice pulled Fate out of her thoughts. The black-haired woman sat close to the blonde and watched the other two along with her.
"Yes, I'm amazed that there is someone even more chatty than Nanoha." She joked. Seeing her mother's caring look, as she watched Momoko, she asked. "You really love her, mother, don't you?"
"She is my life." Precia answered honestly. "Along with you two of course." She added quickly with a smile and put her hand around her daughter, hugging her lightly.
"Thank you." Fate responded, kissing her mother's cheek. "For everything you do for us."
"You're welcome." Precia replied contently, closing her eyes.
Linith started to purr and fell asleep on the blonde's lap.
"Please, be careful, you know I'm easily scared when it comes to those things."
"Don't worry, I won't hurt you."
"I know but- hey, why are you smiling like that?"
"Easy, just lay still."
"Okay. Be gentle, please?"
"I'll try, don't move."
"Ow! It hurt!"
"Oh, I'm sorry. I had to touch your eye to pull out the dust." Fate leaned down and kissed Nanoha's closed eyelid. "How do you feel now?"
"It's so much better, thank you." Nanoha answered with a smile, her head still lying on Fate's lap. She sat up after a while and hugged her sister from behind, placing her chin on her right arm and connecting their cheeks.
"Someone is really touchy tonight." The blonde giggled and leaned her head a little to the right side, enjoying the other's warmth.
"I'm sorry, I just... kind of... wanted to do this for a while."
"It's okay, don't apologize for such a small thing." The blonde caressed the other's cheek gently. "You can do this whenever you want to, we're sisters after all."
"Um, we are." Nanoha whispered."When we were little girls we could do this all the time." She brought back a memory of their childhood. "Now, when we are older, it's becoming harder and harder." She said and Fate couldn't help but feel sadness in her sister's voice.
"Maybe it's because now we know new... meanings of touching the other person." She answered thoughtfully. "Say, Nanoha, are you uncomfortable with me?" She asked suddenly, trying to hide her anxiety.
"Uncomfortable? What do you mean? I don't- No, of course not," Nanoha reassured her sister. "I would never be uncomfortable with Fate-chan." She closed her eyes and tightened her hug.
"Sorry, I don't know why I even asked you this." Fate answered after a while. "I just worry about you when you are like this. It makes me think that something bad happened to you, or that I did something in a wrong way." She said honestly. "And you have a habit of hiding your problems until you can't take it any more-"
"Shh." Nanoha silenced her sister by placing a finger on the girl's lips. "Everything is okay. I'm just a little sleepy so let's go to bed, okay?" She masked her melancholy with a smile. After all, the reason was not to be told. And especially if it was Fate.
"Okay." The blonde faced the Nanoha. "Just remember, if you want to talk, I'll always be there for you." With that she pulled the brunette into another hug. "By the way, where do you want to sleep?"
"Could we stay in your room for one more night? Since we're here anyway."
"Sure, I'm going to prepare a bath, and you," Fate playfully poked Nanoha's nose. "Go and make the bed, your turn tonight." She added with a wink.
Morning came quickly and Nanoha groaned silently when her phone started to ring, desperately trying to wake her up. She reached out her hand as far as she could, still being tightly held by Fate, and tried to grab the noisy device but failed miserably, throwing it down in the end. Finally, she managed to turn off her alarm but going back to bed was out of question. Her sister was already awake.
"Good morning, Nanoha." The blonde greeted her, yawning lightly, and gave her a small kiss on the forehead.
"Ah! Good morning, Fate-chan." Nanoha got slightly red from the other girl's sudden action.
Kissing like that wasn't anything new to them. They often kissed each other on their cheeks, foreheads or temples. Every occasion was good, 'a good morning kiss', 'a good night kiss', but they knew that no reason was really necessary. However, even if things were like that, all kind of physical contact with Fate was succesfully increasing Nanoha's heartbeat, more or less.
Finally, the two got up and started to get ready for their day. "What do you want to eat for breakfast, Fate-chan?" The brunette asked, putting on her bathrobe and heading towards the door.
"Hm, I think I'll go for sausages." Fate answered, opening her drawer.
"Okay, I'll go and prepare a meal, you can go to bathroom first."
After fifteen minutes both met in the kitchen, Nanoha making their breakfast and lunch and Fate brewing some tea. "Hey, Fate-chan, today we meet with everyone for lunch, right?"
"Yes, I'll come to pick you up after my lecture." She poured the hot tea into their matching mugs, signed with their names written in paint which changed it's colour along with temperature. "Ah, I heard in radio that today is going to be warm." The blonde added. "Don't dress too thickly."
"You call this warm Fate-chan? It's so hot today, I'm going to melt!" Nanoha voiced out her complaint.
"I told you that we should eat inside, you're the one who wanted to go on the rooftop." The blonde countered.
"But I wanted to breathe some fresh air. I spent half of the day in the auditorium, how could I know that it's so hot outside?"
"Shush, both of you! Honestly, you argue like an old, married couple, are you two sisters for real?" The third voice suddenly joined their little argument. Another, this time short-haired and a little smaller, blonde appeared with an angry expression on her face.
"Easy, Arisa-chan, it's okay." The purple-haired girl that followed her started to calm down her pouting friend. Then she turned to the other two. "Wednesday is the only day when we all have some free time between our lectures, please, don't be like this." She said and gave them an honest smile.
"We're sorry, Arisa-chan, Suzuka-chan." Fate and Nanoha answered in unison, instantly forgetting about their earlier 'difference in opinions', as they usually called it.
"Where are the others?" Arisa asked curiously. "Me and Suzuka are usually the last ones here."
"Hayate-chan had something to discuss with our physics lecturer, she should be here soon." Nanoha explained. "As for Yuuno-kun, as far as I remember, he has an exam right now, he'll probably drop by later."
Suddenly, Fate spoke. "Ah, I've just remembered, I invited one of my new friends from my specialisation, if you don't mind."
"Of course we don't mind." Suzuka said with her usual smile and turned her head to the smaller blonde. "Right? Arisa-chan?"
"This girl you sometimes talk about?" Nanoha asked and, seeing her sister nodding her head, she added. "So I'm finally going to meet her, actually, I also invited someone I got to know lately. They'll come here along with Hayate-chan."
"Speak of the devil." Arisa interjected.
"Good afternoon, everyone!" Hayate was cheerful as always. Following her was a girl with short, blue hair.
"Good afternoon, my name is Nakajima Subaru, nice to meet you." The girl introduced herself to the group. Seeing smiles on their faces, she added. "You can call me Subaru."
"I'm Fate T. Harlaown, nice to meet you too." The taller blonde bowed lightly. "I'm Nanoha's twin."
Suzuka and Arisa were going to do the same when the second new person came. This time it was a tall girl with orange hair. "Good afternoon-" She started and stopped suddenly. "Subaru? What are you doing here?"
"You know each other?" Asked a little surprised Fate, looking at the both of newcomers.
"Ah, Tia!" Subaru called the other one, immediately going to her side. "This is Teana Lanster, my roommate." She introduced her friend to the rest.
"Um, forgive my rudeness," The other bowed her head. "Nice to meet you." She finished, a little embarrassed.
"It's okay, nice to meet you too, I'm Takamachi Nanoha." The brunette broke the ice.
Introductions were made, lunches were eaten and soon everyone was chatting with each other lively. It quickly became clear that both Subaru and Tia were on a good way to become a part of the group.
"Um, Nanoha-san, Fate-san, can I ask you something?" Subaru started suddenly, having a curious expression on her face.
"Sure, go ahead." The brunette offered her a kind smile.
"You two are sisters, right?" She voiced her question, looking both at Nanoha and Fate. When the two nodded, she continued. "So why do you have different surnames? It's been bugging me for a while, I'm sorry if it's something I shouldn't ask."
"No, it's all right." Nanoha took the initiative. "Harlaown was our father's surname. We really got along with each other, so a few years after his death, when our mother changed her surname due to her remarriage, Fate-chan took his last name and made it a part of hers in remembrance of him."
Subaru nodded her head in understanding manner.
"Besides, the 'T' stands for 'Takamachi' so we really have the same last names." Added Fate, smiling lightly.
"Ah, thank you. I think I shouldn't have asked after all." The blue-haired girl seemed a little down.
"Don't worry about it." Fate reassured her. "But there's a thing I'd like to know." Her voice was mild and friendly. "Are you on the same specialisation as Nanoha? You don't look like somebody who likes watching stars."
"Ah, no, I'm on astronautics. I want to become a part of a space shuttle's crew." The girl cheered up instantly. "I met Nanoha-san a week ago on our shared activities. We were in the same group." Then she looked at Suzuka and Arisa who were listening to her with interest. "And what about you two? I heard from Nanoha-san that you are her childhood friends. What are you studying?"
"I'm on mechanical engineering." Suzuka was the first one to answer. "I love taking apart machines."
"My specialisation is Corporate Finance and Accounting. I'm going to take over my family's company after my graduation." Arisa couldn't help but feel a little proud.
"Wow, I'm envious of you, to have your future planned already. I'm not sure what to do after graduation." Tia voiced out her admiration.
Subaru quickly came to her rescue. "Don't worry, Tia, I'm sure you'll find something for yourself."
"I know!" The other one responded. "I was just saying that it's impressive to have such plans so early."
Time was passing by quickly and soon they all had to get back on their lectures. It was almost three pm, Fate had to stay two more hours at the university, while Nanoha had just one more left.
"So, Fate-chan, we'll meet in two hours, right?" Nanoha asked, looking in Fate's eyes. "I'll wait for you in the reading-room. Come there when your classes end." The brunette said taking her sister's hand. "I need to make some final revisions, I have my physics exam a day after tomorrow."
"Okay, good luck then." Fate smiled at her sister and kissed her forehead. "Good luck kiss." She said, giggling a little.
"F- Fate-chan!" The other's face got red instantly. "Y- You know, I don't mind kissing with you, I mean, you kissing me but we are in public and such..." She mumbled, getting more and more red, while the other one just burst out with laughter. "H- Hey, don't laugh! You meanie..."
A few meters away...
"Are they really sisters?" Subaru asked innocently, pointing at the two.
Arisa just pouted again. "Don't worry, I know them for almost twenty years and I still have my doubts."
A/N: I know that this chapter probably was a bit boring but I needed to present the whole AU. Even now I feel that some things need their own explanations and I somehow couldn't mix them into the story.
For example: Nanoha and Hayate studying astronomy. It really doesn't connect with my own hobbies and such, it's just that I've always seen the MGLN heroines as some kind of space girls. By the way, yes, Subaru and Tia are also twenty years old. I want to use as many canon characters as I can instead of creating some OC's.
Some things will be explained later so I'll just leave them be for now.
As for the second chapter, my holidays start the day after tomorrow and I hope to post the next part this weekend. It's already longer than this one.
Until then, take care and, one more time, thanks for comments.